Baseball Cap Shaped Beverage Container Opener and Bottle Resealer
Inventor: Jerome Romero
Day job: Auto mechanic
His all-time favorite invention: One of his own. “About 17 years ago I invented a scoot-and-go cycle,” Romero says. “I put a motor on a scooter. I tried getting it trademarked but money was hard then and there are 11 [people] in my family.”
How his invention could affect our lives: It opens bottles and keeps beverages fresh.
What the actual patent says: “The ornamental design for a baseball cap shaped beverage container opener and bottle resealer.”
Meet the inventor: Jerome Romero came up with the idea for a baseball cap-shaped bottle opener about 10 years ago. “We were always using belt buckles to open beers,” Romero recalls. “I wanted something cool that you could keep in your car and have for a long time.”
That idea set Romero on an odyssey that has since cost him thousands of dollars in patent attorney fees, manufacturing costs in China and marketing. Romero, who commutes daily to Taos to work on cars, is hopeful his big break is around the corner.
“I’m looking for the big companies,” he says. Romero’s bottle openers, dubbed FunTopz, are miniature plastic hats and helmets that fit over bottle tops. FunTopz serve dual functions: They help keep bottled beverages fresh and they crack open cold ones.
Romero holds patents on little plastic cowboy hats, baseball caps, and football and racecar helmet models. He currently has a prototype for a hockey goalie helmet as well.
Romero is banking on sports teams to buy FunTopz, which can be decorated with sports team logos. If a team licensed the product from Romero, that would result in a hefty payday for the local inventor.
Currently, he has team stickers already affixed to FunTopz, despite the fact that they constitute trademark infringement; that’s part of Romero’s business strategy.
“For [sports teams] to come after us and say, ‘you’re infringing,’ that’d be a good thing because I’ll say, ‘that’s great—I’ll sell it to you,’” Romero says. “I’m trying to push the button a little bit.”
Asked if friends and family questioned Romero’s sanity when he first conceived of FunTopz, the mechanic/inventor says, “Well, people tried to discourage me, but when I made my first prototype, everyone wanted it.”